Friday, April 11, 2008

Michelle Dresbold, James Kwalwasser/SEX, LIES, AND HANDWRITING

(Subtitled: A Top Expert Reveals the Secrets hidden in Your Handwriting)

I randomly snagged this book from the library shelf in the hopes that it would have something interesting in it, and I didn't even read it for a week or so. After I finally picked it up, I didn't stop reading until I was halfway through and had to get some sleep.

The main author, Dresbold, consults to police, attorneys, and prosecturs, profiling suspected criminals by examining their handwriting. In this book, she talks about the basics of examining handwriting in order to gain insight on the writer's personality and psychological state. She also provides case studies from famous crimes and includes samples of handwriting from celebrities.

Some of the basics Dresbold covers:

  • The personal prounoun I reveals clues about the writer's relationship with her mother and father as well as how the writer views herself. For example, a missing hook on the end of a cursive I suggests the writer had no real relationship with her father.

  • The lower loops of letters like g, y, and j can reveal sexual preference, appetite, trauma, and abnormalities. For example, sharp lower loops reveal an abnormal, angry, or agitated sex life.

  • The way a writer forms her o's and a's gives hints to her communication style. Lower case a's and o's that are open at the top reveal a talkative person.

  • Around 80% of felons share a common handwriting trait--the "felon's claw," a sign that the writer is prone to self-sabotage.

  • Weapon shapes can often be found in the handwriting of known murderers. Both a bomb and an assault rifle are visible in the signature of Osama bin Laden.

Dresbold also helps the reader examine handwriting samples of famous figures like Michael Jackson, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Ted Bundy, Hitler, and many others. Most fascinating is the section of the book that attempts to use handwriting samples to shed light on famous unsolved murder cases like those of Lizze Borden, Jack the Ripper, and JonBenet Ramsey.

This book kept me totally absorbed, not to mention itching to examine the handwriting of people I know.


moonrat said...

i would never have picked this up on my own, but you've sold me.

gosh, i wonder what i'm giving away about my psychology to anyone who reads something i handwrote?!

Cheryl said...

I know--now when I'm writing something down, I simulataneous trying to scrutinize what I'm giving away about myself.

Here's a tip: according to the book, if a person signs her name larger than she wrote your name on a letter or card, it means she doesn't think very well of you! So sign your name the same size as you write your addressee's name :)

ChristineEldin said...

I'm off to google "falcon's claw."

This sounds fascinating!!!

Anonymous said...

You should have done your research. Dresbold stole another handwriting experts work and published it in "Sex Lies & Handwriting." Dresbold was sued for copyright infringement and misrepresentation (Dresbold went on radio and TV shows claiming that the 'stolen' work was hers). Michelle Dresbold's credibility has been damaged, and I would have trouble believing anything she has to say.

Here's the URL to the copyright infringement lawsuit:,0,3237844.story

Cheryl said...

Interesting. The book covers a fascinating topic nonetheless.

Cheryl said...

By the way, the article the above comment links to is all about a section of the book that claims it's likely JonBenet was killed by her mother, but her mother was recently cleared of any wrongdoing (posthumously).

Anonymous said...

Just because the mother wrote the note, it does not mean she committed the murder. The note could have been written to: 1) cover up for the real murderer, or 2)bad judgment was used to have the police look away from the family as suspects.